- The 14 Best Restaurant Meals For Diabetics
- Noodles and Company’s Med Salad with Chicken
- Panera Bread’s Pick Two
- Jason’s Deli California Club with Fruit Cup
- California Pizza Kitchen’s Shaved Mushroom and Spinach Flatbread
- Au Bon Pain’s Egg Whites, Cheddar, & Avocado on Skinny Wheat Bagel
- Applebee’s Green Goddess Wedge Salad
- Red Lobster’s Lighthouse Snow Crab Legs
- Denny’s Fit-Fare Loaded Veggie Omelet
- P.F. Chang’s Buddha’s Feast Steamed
- Cheesecake Factory’s Seared Tuna Tataki Salad
- Bonefish Grill’s Chilean Sea Bass
- Red Robin’s Sear-ious Salmon
- Olive Garden’s Chicken Margarita
- Boston Market’s Rotisserie Chicken with Fresh Steamed Veggies
- Here Are 6 Diabetes-Friendly Dishes to Order at McDonald’s
- 1. Egg McMuffin + Latte
- 2. Hamburger + kids fries + 1 packet of ketchup
- 3. Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich + side salad
- 4. Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad + kids fries
- 5. Double Cheeseburger + apple slices
- 6. Chicken McNuggets (4 pieces) + small fries + side salad
- Top Fast-Food Picks for People with Diabetes
- Fast food and diabetes: Tips and options
- Fast Food For Breakfast???!!!
- Lower carb options do exist
- Burger King
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Taco Bell
- Other menu items to be careful about at fast-food restaurants
- Online nutrition calculators
The 14 Best Restaurant Meals For Diabetics
Breaking news: you don’t need to fret about your blood sugar spiking when you eat out! The team at Eat This, Not That! has got the 4-1-1 on the healthiest meals diabetics can order.
If you have Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) or Type 2 DM, eating out can be a struggle. For example, you may not be as willing to sample an appetizer, or order that bowl of pasta because you’re not sure how many grams of carbs are hidden between each twirl of noodles. And dessert? Forget about it. There’s probably way too much sugar for your pancreas to handle.
Enough is enough. You’re allowed to indulge and order that carby dish you’ve been craving for since yesterday. All you need to do is a little bit of research before tackling the menu. The best news of all is you’re not alone. According to the CDC, 29.1 million people have diabetes in the United States—that’s 10% of the entire population. Fortunately, Type 2 DM may be reversible if you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean protein while avoiding processed foods.
Until then, here are a handful of diabetic-friendly meals you can order from your favorite restaurants. And make sure to read up on the secret diabetes remedies for more helpful tips on how you can manage your Type 2 Diabetes.
Noodles and Company’s Med Salad with Chicken
Nutrition: 370 calories, 15 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 1,460 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (4 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 27 g protein
Full disclosure here: Above are the nutrition facts for the full size dish, and this salad contains both noodles and cheese for a total of only 33 grams of carbs. Shoutout to Noodles and Company for keeping this dish low carb! One thing that could be improved is the sodium content because it’s a bit high.
If you’re feeling like going all out and having a bowl of pasta at Noodles (which we wouldn’t blame you for) you could also opt for the Penne Rosa with either parmesan or feta and it will only cost you 360 calories, 48 grams carbs and 7 grams sugar.
Panera Bread’s Pick Two
It’s hard to resist the You Pick Two deal at Panera. Opt for the half size of the Turkey & Avocado BLT on Sourdough, because it has the least sugar and carbs of any other sandwich on the menu. Pair with a half size seasonal greens salad for a total of 400 calories and 35 grams carbs. For perspective, Panera’s classic bread bowl is 660 calories and 136 grams… and that’s without the soup. If the word avocado had your tastebuds salivating, checkout avocado recipes for more delicious ideas.
Jason’s Deli California Club with Fruit Cup
Nutrition (Fruit Cup): 60 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 g sodium, 14 g carbs (2 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 0 g protein.
If you decide to ditch the salad bar at your next visit to Jason’s Deli, consider ordering the half size of the California Club and pair it with a fruit cup. This way you’re only consuming 33 carbs while getting a variety of nutrients. Although, both men and women with diabetes actually could afford to tack on a few more carbs with this dish. Carb choices are important for people diabetes to keep track of.
One carb choice equals 15 grams of carbs. Women with diabetes should have up to 3-4 carb choices for lunch and dinner, or 45-60 grams of carbs per meal. For men, 4-5 carb choices are recommended for both lunch and dinner, or 60-75 grams of carbs. So both parties actually have a bit of wiggle room in this meal. Add a side of steamed veggies for an additional 60 calories, 11 grams carbs, and 5 grams sugar!
California Pizza Kitchen’s Shaved Mushroom and Spinach Flatbread
Courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen
Nutrition: 400 calories, 18 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 930 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 18 g protein
If you’re an advocate of pizza but also have diabetes, you may be struggling to find a happy medium between getting your fix and keeping your blood glucose levels in check. Lucky for you, CPK offers a flatbread that doesn’t cost you an extraordinary amount of carbs. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all of CPK’s pizza pies. Find out which one has the most carbs in The 15 Unhealthiest Meals for Diabetics.
Au Bon Pain’s Egg Whites, Cheddar, & Avocado on Skinny Wheat Bagel
Nutrition: 360 calories, 23 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 590 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (9 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 19 g protein
Let’s talk breakfast people. Breakfast is important for diabetics because it allows your blood glucose levels to exit that fasting state and gets your body ready to take on daily activities. And avocado is definitely one of The 10 Healthiest Carbs That Won’t Derail Your Six-Pack so people with or without diabetes should welcome its lower abdominal, fat-blasting powers into their diet daily if possible.
Applebee’s Green Goddess Wedge Salad
Nutrition: 550 calories, 52 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 1,230 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 9 g protein
Applebee’s wedge salad is quite filling simply because you devour a hefty wedge of lettuce. Lettuce is a non-starch veggie, therefore, it has a low glycemic index. Glycemic index is a system that ranks foods on a scale from 1 to 100 based on the impact they have on your blood glucose levels. Foods that are low in glycemic index are the ones you want to have making up a significant portion of your diet. Other non-starchy veggies include produce like spinach, kale, squash, or fruit. Limit your intake of things like potatoes, meat, and dairy products. And of course, eliminate high glycemic index foods like white breads, white rice, and soda. Applebee’s offers a lot of meals that have a high glycemic index in its assortment of burgers and appetizers.
Red Lobster’s Lighthouse Snow Crab Legs
Nutrition: 480 calories, 35 g fat (21 g saturated fat), 1,820 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 35 g protein
If you’re a seafood fanatic then this place is your go-to. Indulge in some lobster and put your mind at ease, because the carb and sugar content are both very low. The sodium content is a bit high, like most dishes on this list, because restaurants alike are notorious for sprinkling too much salt into their meals.
Denny’s Fit-Fare Loaded Veggie Omelet
Nutrition: 470 calories, 16 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 650 mg sodium, 60 g carbs (7 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 26 g protein
In need of some new healthy breakfast ideas? Um, who isn’t? And we bet Denny’s wasn’t the first place that came to your mind when you thought, healthy. Well think again, because this meal is balanced between all three macronutrients: Carbohydrates, fat, and protein. This meal is also diabetic-friendly, because with it doesn’t exceed 60 grams of carbs. This is the perfect amount of carbohydrates for a person with diabetes to consume in one sitting.
P.F. Chang’s Buddha’s Feast Steamed
Nutrition: 250 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 300 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (9 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 26 g protein
If you’re diabetic and vegetarian or vegan, this dish tailors to all of your dietary needs! Low sodium, a decent amount of carbs, and a spot-on protein content makes P.F. Chang’s Buddha Feast a feast worthy for all.
Cheesecake Factory’s Seared Tuna Tataki Salad
Courtesy of The Cheesecake Factory
Nutrition: 440 calories, N/A g fat (3 g saturated fat), 1,390 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (N/A g fiber, N/A g sugar), N/A g protein
Look at this beautiful salad! Cheesecake Factory also has a SkinnyLicious menu that’s worth a gander. But for a dish off of the regular menu, it’s relatively low in carbs. Especially for a place that’s renowned for carb-heavy cheesecake. The sodium content is a bit high, but it’s not everyday you get to eat out so moderation is key. If you’re looking to whip up a killer salad at home, check out 30 Salad Recipes for Weight Loss.
Bonefish Grill’s Chilean Sea Bass
Nutrition: 480 calories, 40 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 31 g protein
Perhaps the best dish on this list for people with diabetes is Bonefish Grill’s Chilean Sea Bass. Why? It has zero carbs and sugar, which means you’ll have to eat an adequate amount of healthy carbs before or along with this meal. Ask for an order of steamed veggies to prevent hypoglycemia and for some additional nutrition.
Red Robin’s Sear-ious Salmon
Nutrition: 450 calories, 35 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 760 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 34 g protein
Calling all salmon lovers, this dish is for you. The protein content is just a little high for those with diabetes but nothing that’s overly concerning. Just make sure to limit your protein intake for the remainder of the day, or prior to ordering this omega 3-packed fish.
Olive Garden’s Chicken Margarita
Nutrition (Lunch Portion): 370 calories, 22 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 700 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 37 g protein
When you have diabetes, not only do you need to monitor how much carbs and sugar you consume, but the amount of protein too. Why? There’s a microvascular complication called nephropathy that occurs when a person with diabetes has been consuming too much protein. Nephropathy is a fancy medical term that means kidney damage or kidney disease. This condition does not happen overnight, but it’s good to be mindful that over time, stressing the kidneys with high levels of protein can cause kidney failure. This dish has a lot of protein, so make sure this is the only meat-containing meal of the day!
Boston Market’s Rotisserie Chicken with Fresh Steamed Veggies
Courtesy of Boston Market
Nutrition (Fresh Steamed Veggies): 60 calories, 3.5 g fat, (0 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 2 g protein
Last but not least is Boston Market’s own chicken and veggie combo. This meal is incredibly low in carbs— only 8 grams to be exact. So definitely don’t shy away from that additional side of corn, which only adds 130 calories, 21 grams carbs, and 9 grams sugar. Again, though, be mindful of that protein content.
Protip: Consume 0.8 gram of protein per 1 kilogram body weight. So if you’re 150lbs., for example, that translates to 68 kilograms which means you’ll want to aim for consuming a maximum of 54.4 grams of protein per day. However, everyone’s body is different so plus or minus a few grams of protein and you shouldn’t have to worry. Avoid eating 100+ grams of protein a day and your kidneys will thank you.
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Here Are 6 Diabetes-Friendly Dishes to Order at McDonald’s
Health | Diabetic Diet | April 27, 2018 | By Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDNIt’s more than possible make a pit stop at the Golden Arches without blowing your diabetic diet.
iStock Unreleased / Getty Images Plus / Remus Kotsell
With 37,000 McDonald’s locations around the world, there’s a solid chance at some point you’ll find yourself in one, looking for a meal that won’t send your blood sugar soaring. Good news—the McDonald’s menu isn’t all supersized Cokes and fries anymore (the chain actually discontinued those infamous mega portions in 2004).
Do a little nutrition sleuthing—and McDonald’s makes it easy to research nutrition information on their website—and you’ll find plenty of meal options that will keep your numbers in check.
If you have diabetes, you’ll want to aim for around 400-500 calories, 45-60 grams of carbohydrates, and fewer than 10% of calories from saturated fat per meal. You also want to look for foods that make a dent in your daily fiber goal: 25 grams for women and 38 for men. Keeping sodium to a minimum is also important. The American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 2,300 milligram per day. Meals out are some of the biggest sources of sodium; so be sure to keep salt extra low the rest of the day any time you eat out.
The following six meals will help you stay within range of your diabetes meal goals at Mickey D’s:
6 Diabetes-Friendly McDonald’s Meals
1. Egg McMuffin + Latte
The classic breakfast sandwich paired with a milky coffee is a satiating, energy-boosting meal to start your day with. You’ll have the option to go with whole or nonfat milk for the latte; while some research links full-fat dairy consumption with a lower risk of diabetes and healthier blood lipid levels, the American Diabetes Association still recommends low or non-fat for people with diabetes. Whichever one you choose, the latte will deliver 25% of your daily calcium need.
Nutrition information: 440 calories, 19 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 265 mg cholesterol, 830 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrates, 14 g sugars, 2 g fiber, 25 g protein
2. Hamburger + kids fries + 1 packet of ketchup
This classic McDonald’s combo is actually A-OK for a diabetes-friendly meal, as long as you keep the fries serving small. You can stay within healthy range by ordering a kid’s portion—or sharing a small order with a friend. Keep the ketchup to one packet; at 2 grams of carbohydrates per packet, the carbs can add up quickly.
Nutrition information:370 calories, 13 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 650 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrates, 8 g sugars, 3 g fiber, 14 g protein
3. Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich + side salad
Opting for a grilled chicken sandwich rather than a fried one keeps the calories and fat down; adding in the salad provides you with nearly 100% of your daily need of vision-protecting vitamin A, not to mention fiber and texture. The nutrition information listed below doesn’t include dressing for the salad; opt for a low-fat option (they’re much lower in calorie than McDonald’s full-fat offerings) and keep your portion of the dressing to a drizzle.
Nutrition information: 400 calories, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 1130 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrates, 12 g sugars, 4 g fiber, 38 g protein
4. Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad + kids fries
Made with seasoned chicken, roasted corn and tomatoes, poblano peppers, and shredded cheese, this salad has plenty of flavor before you add the dressing—so much, in fact, that you could probably go without any dressing. Dressed or undressed, this meal will provide you with more than your daily need for vitamin A and more than half of your vitamin C requirement. All that, and there’s still room for a kid-sized fries!
Nutrition information:470 calories, 17 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 110 mg cholesterol, 1150 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugars, 7 g fiber, 38 g protein
5. Double Cheeseburger + apple slices
If it’s a big burger you crave, opt for a Double Cheeseburger rather than a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder with cheese. The reason: You’ll get similar flavor without all of the extra bread or beef. It is still a lot of saturated fat-rich meat and cheese, however—so balance them out with an order of apple slices on the side.
Nutrition information:450 calories, 21 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 1040 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrates, 10 g sugars, 2 g fiber, 25 g protein
6. Chicken McNuggets (4 pieces) + small fries + side salad
An order of Chicken McNuggets is lower in carbohydrates than any sandwich you’ll get at McDonald’s—which means you can get a small order of fries all to yourself (woo hoo!). If you don’t mind some heat, request the Spicy Buffalo Sauce as your dip—it will add only 30 calories and 1 gram of carbohydrates (by comparison, Sweet ‘N Sour and Tangy Barbecue sauces both pack 11 grams of carbs per serving). However, the meal is missing one thing: color! Add in a side salad, which adds 2 grams of fiber, not to mention vitamins A, C, and disease-fighting antioxidants—all for a mere 20 calories.
Nutrition information:420 calories, 22 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 510 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrates, 2 g sugars, 5 g fiber, 14 g protein
Reviewed by: Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: April 25, 2018
Top Fast-Food Picks for People with Diabetes
Fast-food joints get a bad reputation for serving up foods high in carbs, sodium, fat and sugar-but that doesn’t mean a trip to Wendy’s has to be completely off the table, even if you have diabetes. After all, fast food does have its benefits-like convenience and consistent quality wherever you go-and sometimes it’s the only option for a meal if you’re on a road trip or stuck in an airport.
You don’t have to stick to plain grilled chicken or salads either-there’s room for a burger with fries too! To help you navigate the drive-thru with diabetes, we’re sharing dietitian-approved menu recommendations for each of the most popular chains, plus expert ordering tips to help you find a meal that will fill you up without sabotaging your blood sugar. The next time you’re faced with a fast-food menu, you’ll be prepared to make a smart choice to fit your lifestyle, satisfy cravings and support your individual dietary needs.
Get the info you need to get creative
If you’re craving a burger, order a junior-size patty and toss half the bun to spare some carbs. (Ask for a knife and fork to make an open-face burger less messy). Curious how many carbs you’d spare by ditching the bun? Most fast-food restaurants have very user-friendly online menus that allow you to build customized creations and view nutrition info for your entire meal in real time, or to search for items based on specific criteria, like “under 500 calories,” “at least 10 grams protein” or “sodium less than 800 mg,” etc.
Check the condiments and dressings
Watching sodium intake? Carefully consider the condiments, which are often hidden sources of sodium, sugar and carbs (for example, a Burger King ketchup packet has 125 mg of the salty stuff). And be aware that low-calorie and/or low-fat salad dressing typically relies on added sugar for flavor, so be sure to check the label before pouring it over your salad. Drizzle-don’t dump-to save sugar and carbs, or stash a healthier dressing option in your bag to use instead.
Don’t supersize it-but don’t overly restrict yourself either
It’s a no-brainer that you should stay away from supersized portions, sugary sodas and desserts when dining at a fast-food restaurant. But you don’t have to restrict yourself to iceberg lettuce and grilled chicken, either. If you keep a too-tight rein on your cravings, it can often lead to overeating or binge-eating later. It’s better to honor your craving mindfully, tuning in to hunger cues and fully enjoying every bite of your treat.
Best fast-food options for people with diabetes
What to order at Taco Bell:
Image zoom Photo: Taco Bell
2 Fresco-Style Soft Tacos with Fire-Grilled Chicken (not shredded)
Add tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pico de gallo. If you add the optional hot sauce, it adds 90 mg sodium. Adding guacamole adds 70 calories, 210 mg sodium, 6 g fat and 3 g carbs.
TOTAL (2 tacos): 300 cals, 8 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 910 mg sodium, 36 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 22 g protein
2 Fresco-Style Crunchy Beef Tacos
Hold the cheese, but add lettuce, tomato, pico de gallo and onion. Add an order of black beans for 5 grams of filling fiber, 80 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 12 grams carbs, 200 mg sodium and 3 grams protein.
TOTAL (2 tacos): 310 cals, 15 g fat, 4.5 g sat fat, 610 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 13 g protein
Power Menu Bowl – Veggie
TOTAL: 480 cals, 19 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 940 mg sodium, 65 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 14 g protein
Vegetarian Double Tostada
TOTAL: 270 cals, 11 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 660 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 12 g protein
Boost nutrition at Taco Bell:
- Ask to make your meal “fresco style” and you’ll receive fresh pico de gallo instead of higher-calorie sauces, cheese or guacamole (although, of all those options, guacamole adds beneficial healthy fats). All items on the “Fresco Menu” are less than 350 calories and 10 grams of fat-just remember they still have a lot of sodium.
- If you’re craving chips, choose the chips with pico de gallo for a total of 170 calories, 8 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 170 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 3 g fiber and 2 g protein.
- Add a side of black beans to boost the fiber content of your meal (black beans add 80 calories, 1.5 g fat, 12 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 200 mg sodium, 3 g protein).
- Choose lower-sodium fresh pico de gallo over the various salsas.
- Choose guacamole over cheese or sour cream to get heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
- Increase the heat without raising sodium levels too high with a packet of hot sauce (35 mg sodium) versus jalapeños, which add a whopping 240 mg of sodium.
- Items labeled “XXL” or “Double Stacked” likely won’t fit into any healthful diet-so skip those when skimming the menu.
- Cinnabon Delights (served as a 2-pack) are a sweet treat that won’t totally derail your diabetes goals, especially if you share them with a friend: 160 cals, 9 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 80 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 10 g sugars, 2 g protein).
What to order at Burger King:
Image zoom Photo: Burger King
Comes with pickles, ketchup and mustard. If you want cheese on your hamburger, ordering a cheeseburger will add 40 calories, 3 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 180 mg sodium, 2 g carbs and 2 g protein.
TOTAL: 460 cals, 19 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 720 mg sodium, 57 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 15 g protein
Ask for no cheese or mayo on your burger.
TOTAL: 240 cals, 10 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 330 mg sodium, 27 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 13 g protein
MorningStar Farms Veggie Burger
Ask to hold the mayo. This sandwich is a great source of plant-based protein and provides a decent amount of fiber, but it’s not always on the main menu so you might have to ask for it.
TOTAL: 310 cals, 8 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 910 mg sodium, 41 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 21 g protein
Tips for dining at Burger King:
- Order a Side Garden Salad. It comes with shredded cheese that adds 45 calories, 4 g fat and 85 mg sodium. Skip the crouton packet and use half a packet of Lite Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette (half of the package contains 60 calories, 4 g fat, 110 mg sodium and 7 g carbs).
- Craving fries or onion rings? Choose a side from the “Value Size” menu, as these items are the most modestly portioned (and priced!), even compared to a “small” order. For example, a value-size order of onion rings is 150 calories, 8 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat and 400 mg sodium. A value-size order of (unsalted) french fries is 220 calories, 9 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 210 mg sodium, 34 g carbs and 2 g protein.
- Hidden source of sodium? Ketchup! One packet or serving adds 125 mg sodium and 3 g carbs, so be conservative with that and any other condiments.
What to order at Chipotle:
Image zoom Photo: Chipotle
Salad Bowl with Chicken
Have the black beans, double fajita veggies, extra lettuce and tomatillo green-chili salsa. This is a low-calorie, high-protein, high-fiber meal-what’s not to love?
Ask for a half portion of guacamole (115 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 4 g carbs, 3 g fiber and 185 mg sodium), which adds flavor and provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fats to better aid in nutrient absorption. It also makes it easy to skip caloric dressings-simply top your salad with the salsa and guacamole and give it a stir for a creamy, delicious alternative to salad dressing.
TOTAL (without guacamole): 370 cals, 8.5 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 1,080 mg sodium, 37 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 42 g protein
Make It a Veggie Bowl
If you’re a vegetarian, order the Salad Bowl with Chicken, but simply ask for a double portion of black beans instead of chicken.
Make the most out of eating at Chipotle:
- The great part about Chipotle’s made-to-order menu is that you can ask for a half portion of any starchy carbs, like rice or beans, or omit them altogether. It’s a simple request that makes fitting a few chips into your meal much more reasonable.
- Go with Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa over the tomato-based salsa options , which are twice as high in sodium (260 mg per serving compared to around 500 mg respectively).
- Craving something crunchy? Instead of the easy-to-overeat portion of chips, ask for a single crunchy taco shell. It’s the perfect size for crushing over your salad or using to scoop some of that guac. The shell only adds 67 calories, 10 g carbs, 3 g fat and no sodium compared to a full order of chips, with more than 500 calories and upwards of 350 mg sodium. There’s also a smaller portion of chips available on the kids’ menu (140 cals, 6 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 95 mg sodium, 18 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein), as well as the option of swapping seasonal fruit (like blueberries or a mandarin orange) for the chips.
Get more tips for how to order healthy at Chipotle.
What to order at Starbucks:
Image zoom Photo: Starbucks
Tomato & Mozzarella Panini
It’s hard to beat the combination of fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil-especially when it’s served warm on toasted focaccia and has less than 400 calories. Pair it with the Seasonal Fruit Blend cup for extra antioxidants and fiber.
TOTAL: 350 cals, 13 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 580 mg sodium, 42 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 15 g protein
Eggs + Cheese Protein Box
Cage-free hard-boiled eggs, sliced tart apples, grapes and white Cheddar cheese with multigrain muesli bread and honey peanut butter combine to make this a perfect grab-and-go option.
TOTAL: 470 cals, 25 f fat, 7 g sat fat, 540 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 21 g sugar, 23 g protein
Chicken & Quinoa Protein Bowl with Black Beans and Greens
This bowl is full of wholesome ingredients, plus enough protein and fiber to satisfy your hunger for hours. Use half the dressing to lower the sodium content or skip it entirely and buy the “Avocado Spread” for a creamy, heart-healthy dressing with 90 calories, 8 g fat, 5 g carbs, 4 g fiber and 210 mg sodium.
TOTAL: 420 cals, 17 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 1,030 mg sodium, 42 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 27 g protein
Make your next Starbucks run a little healthier:
- Skip the sugary pastries and packaged snacks lining the shelves. Instead, focus on the refrigerated case of fresh food for the best grab-and-go options.
- Use the website’s nutrition calculator to sort items via “Health and Wellness Options,” including fat (10 grams or less), fiber (at least 3 grams), protein (at least 10 grams), and sodium (600 mg or less).
Get more tips for ordering healthy at Starbucks.
What to order at McDonald’s
Image zoom Photo: McDonald’s
The Filet-O-Fish is lower in sodium than other sandwiches and provides 17 satiating grams of protein. If you leave off the tartar sauce, you’ll spare 90 calories and 10 grams of fat-but personally we think the tartar sauce makes the sandwich. If you decide to keep the tartar sauce on the sandwich, just account for those calories and fat grams somewhere else.
TOTAL: 390 cals, 19 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 560 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 17 g protein
If you’re craving a burger, choose the cheeseburger over more elaborate options with over-the-top add-ons like bacon, barbecue sauce or fried onion rings.
TOTAL: 300 cals, 12 g fat, 6 g sat fat, 680 mg sodium, 33 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 15 g protein
Make it a more diabetes-friendly meal:
- Add a side salad for extra veggies, but go easy on the dressing if you’re trying to follow low-sodium recommendations. Most of McDonald’s dressing packets have more than 400 mg sodium per serving. The best choice for calories, carbs and sodium is Newman’s Own Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette (35 cals, 4 g carbs, 400 mg sodium) or get creative and ask for a packet of Honey Mustard Sauce, which has 50 calories and only 95 mg sodium.
- If you want to add fries, choose the Kids Fries-at only 110 calories, 5 g fat, 80 mg sodium and 15 g carbs, they fit within these meal guidelines.
What to order at Panera:
Image zoom Photo: Panera
Pick Two: Half Sandwich and Half Salad
This combo is fabulous in that it gives you a taste of a few items without going overboard on calories, carbs or sodium. Stick to a simple sandwich versus the more elaborate paninis (these are often premade with rich sauces and extra meat or cheese) and pair it with either half salad below. And don’t be fooled: While soup might seem like a healthy option, a closer look reveals that nearly all of Panera’s soups are full of unnecessary salt.
The following sandwiches fall within the nutrition criteria and, when paired with one of the recommended salads, keep totals under 500 calories, 50 g carbs and 700 mg sodium.
Turkey on Whole Grain
This is your best choice overall; ask for no mayo to lower calories and fat. Add 1-2 slices of fresh avocado if desired.
TOTAL (1/2 sandwich): 270 cals, 8 g fat, 1.5 gg sat fat, 590 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 18 g protein
Napa Almond Chicken Salad on Country Rustic
TOTAL (1/2 sandwich): 310 cals, 16 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 340 mg sodium, 30 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 11 g protein
Steak & Arugula on Sourdough
TOTAL (1/2 sandwich): 240 cals, 8 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 440 mg sodium, 25 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 16 g protein
These half-salads are a great choice to pair with the half-and-half deal.
Asian Sesame with Chicken Salad
TOTAL (1/2 salad): 210 cals, 11 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 270 mg sodium, 13 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 16 g protein
Seasonal Greens Salad
TOTAL (1/2 salad): 90 cals, 6 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 75 mg sodium, 10 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
These dressings are your best choice (serving size is a half portion, or 1 1/2 tablespoons).
Asian Sesame Vinaigrette (45 cals, 4 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 100 mg sodium, 2 g carbs)
Chili Lime Rojo Ranch (40 cals, 3 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 1 g carbs, 60 mg sodium)
Green Goddess (60 cals, 5 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 70 mg sodium, 1 g carbs)
Thai Chili Vinaigrette (25 cals, 1 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 95 mg sodium, 5 g carbs)
What to Order at Wendy’s:
Image zoom Photo: Wendy’s
Grilled Chicken Wrap
With hearty grilled chicken strips, Cheddar cheese, lettuce and smoky honey mustard sauce on a flour tortilla, this sandwich is similar to the classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich, except that the flour tortilla is lower in carbs than a bun-even with the addition of smoky honey mustard sauce. For a nutritious side and a fiber boost, get the vitamin-C-packed Apple Bites. If you simply can’t resist fries or a Frosty, order the Junior size, which is the smallest portion available.
TOTAL: 300 cals, 13 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 720 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 2 g fiber
TOTAL: 280 cals, 13 g fat, 6 g sat fat, 26 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 16 g protein
What to Order at Subway:
Image zoom Photo: Subway
Eating at Subway? Look to the “Fresh Fit” menu, with eight sandwiches that each provide 24 grams of whole grains and two servings of vegetables for less than 400 calories. While Subway offers numerous bread choices, the 9-Grain Wheat and Multigrain Flatbread have the lowest sodium, highest fiber and most whole grains.
6-Inch Rotisserie-Style Chicken on 9-Grain Wheat
Our top pick for a sandwich is the 6-inch Rotisserie Chicken on 9-Grain Wheat with the standard vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, red onion, cucumbers and green peppers). The hearty rotisserie chicken feels more substantial than deli meat, yet it’s only 310 calories, Make it more filling by asking for double veggies, and steer clear of the pickles, jalapeños, banana peppers and especially sauerkraut, all of which will add 100-200 mg of sodium to your sandwich. The condiments with the lowest sugar content include tangy red-wine vinegar or lite mayo.
TOTAL: 310 cals, 6 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 560 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 20 g protein
Choose healthier toppings:
For a sweet-tasting sauce that won’t send blood sugars skyrocketing, try the Fat-Free Honey Mustard Sauce (30 cals, 120 mg sodium, 7 grams carbs, 6 grams sugars; availability varies by location). Instead of cheese, add avocado for good-for-you-fat that promotes nutrient absorption. Apple slices are a great alternative to salty potato chips, but if you’re craving that crunch, pick the Baked Lay’s.
Menu items and nutrition facts are up-to-date as of May 31, 2019. Check online and in-store menus for current availability and nutrition.
- By Katie Shields, MS, RDN
- By Diabetic Living Editors
We love to eat out—from fast-food burgers and chicken to nouvelle cuisine, from chain restaurants to the Chinese place on the corner. Unfortunately, when it comes to our health, there’s strong evidence to suggest that our passion for dining out is doing us in.
Sometimes you know what you’re getting into—say, when you order a fat or sugar bomb like a Monster Thickburger at Hardee’s (1,290 calories) or the Triple Chocolate Meltdown at Applebee’s (820 calories). But it’s also possible to order what sounds like a healthy meal and get ambushed.
More from Prevention: How Nutritionists Eat Fast Food
The bottom line: If you have diabetes, you can learn to rescue restaurant meals (and trust me, you’ll have to). The happy truth is that you can dine out anywhere if you become an educated foodie. This isn’t hard to do. This practical guide will help you evade the traps, make smart choices, and enjoy a tasty, healthy restaurant meal anytime, anywhere.
Rescue Your Fast-Food Meal
It’s possible to eat healthfully at fast-food restaurants, even if you have diabetes. The risky choices on these menus tend to be similar (burgers as big as your head, items made with “crispy” chicken or fried fish, fries, fatty sauces and dressings, cheese, bacon, and so on). The cheat sheet below sets you on the road to Rescue. Another tip: “order” your meal before you go. Some of these Web sites let you customize a meal (subtract cheese and dressings, for example), so you’ll know exactly how many calories and how much fat and carbs your meal will contain before you hit the drive-thru window.
More from Prevention: Diabetes-Friendly Chocolate Desserts
Rescued! I can’t call them “healthy,” exactly. But healthier items on the sandwich menu include the regular Roast Beef sandwich (350 calories, 12 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbs) and the Melt sandwich (330 calories, 11 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs). They’re also healthier than any Market Fresh sandwich, all of which contain 330 to 380 calories and 64 to 71 grams of carbs from the bread alone. Add a chopped side salad (80 calories) with half a packet of balsamic vinaigrette dressing (65 calories) and you’ve got a filling meal for under 500 calories.
Rescued! Opt for the TenderGrill Chicken Sandwich without mayo (360 calories and 7 grams of fat, 5 of them saturated) or, if available, the BK Veggie Burger without mayo (320 calories and 7 grams of fat, 1 of them saturated). Add a garden salad with the fat-free ranch dressing (150 calories) and you’ve Rescued this menu. If you really need a burger, the Whopper Jr. without mayo is a decent choice—260 calories and 10 grams of fat, 4 of them saturated.
Free yourself from high blood sugar.
More from Prevention: 5 Shady Secrets About Your Food
Rescued! This fast-food chain wisely features grilled offerings on its menu, shaving off a substantial amount of saturated fat and calories. The Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich is a healthy option at 290 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, and 3 grams of fiber. If it’s a salad you crave, see the box below. The Chicken Salad Sandwich might sound healthy, but pass on it—the chunky bread and fat-filled mayo make it too high in calories (490), fat (19 grams), and carbs (55 grams) to Rescue it.
Rescued! Stick with the grilled chicken and opt for green beans or a house salad with light dressing, and you’ve chosen a healthy meal that’s low in fat and processed carbs. Other good options (although you’ll want to nix them if you’re on a low-sodium diet) include the Honey BBQ Sandwich (320 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, and 3 grams of fiber); the KFC Snacker, ordered without sauce (260 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and 2 grams of
fiber); and the Roasted Caesar Salad, without croutons and with fat-free ranch dressing (250 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of fiber).
More from Prevention.com: 14 Fantastically Healthy Foods for Diabetes
Rescued! If you hold the mayo, the Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich is a nutritious pick; it’ll set you back 350 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat. Another good option: The Big ’N Tasty. Men’s Health, the best restaurant detective in the business, calls it the best fast-food burger in America: “This generous patty edges out the iconic BK burger by a full 210 calories and brings a nice balance of protein, fat, and carbs to the table.” Comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and pickles. Or order the grilled-chicken salad.
Rescued! Hold the cheese and sauces and order items “fresco style,” a healthy, flavorful mix of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Good picks: The Fresco Chicken Soft Taco (150 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, and 2 grams of fiber) and Fresco Crunchy Taco (150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 3 grams of fiber). This chain has a couple of healthy salads on its menu, too—just forgo the crispy salad “bowl” and order them fresco style.
Rescued! Try the Ultimate Chicken Grill—without the honey mustard sauce, it contains 330 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, and 1 gram of fiber. The small Chili (which I love) is also a good option—one serving packs just 210 calories and 6 grams of fiber but only 6 grams of fat (2.5 grams saturated). The beans in their chili are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, and they’re not swimming in fatty dressing. Add a side salad with fat-free or vinaigrette dressing for less than 150 calories more.
More from Prevention:
Fast food and diabetes: Tips and options
It is important for people with diabetes to approach fast food options with some caution. Knowing about the nutritional content of food before setting out can help a person to make wise choices.
Before going to a favorite fast food restaurant, people with diabetes should consider some of these tips:
Share on PinterestInformation about menus and calorie counts is often available online.
- Do not go when overly hungry. Starting any meal on an empty stomach can lead to overeating and unhealthful choices. When possible, people with diabetes should plan to eat a fast food meal after having a healthful snack, such as an apple, to avoid overeating.
- Know before going. Many fast food restaurants have calorie counts on their menus and nutrition information on their websites. Some independent websites also offer reviews and food facts. Whatever the source, it is a good idea to look at the menu options and plan a meal in advance, whenever possible. This can help limit impulse orders.
- Drink water, not soda. People with diabetes should avoid soda due to the high sugar content and the risk of causing a spike in blood sugar levels. Swapping soda for water can help prevent unnecessary calories and blood sugar spikes and help reduce the feeling of hunger.
- Eat slowly. The brain takes at least 15 minutes to register that the stomach is satisfied. Eating slowly helps the brain catch up with what the stomach is feeling. This technique can help a person avoid too large a meal.
- Limit the number of visits. Research has linked a high fast food intake with poor dietary habits. Many health and wellness professionals recommend limiting the number of times anyone, including people with diabetes, eats fast food. It is best to keep visits rare, no more than once to twice a month, for best health.
- Keep it small. When the counter clerk asks about upping the order size, it is generally a good idea to say “no.” There will still be plenty of calories in the smaller meal, but fewer than in the super-size or large size.
- Beware of the value meal options. “Value” combinations may appear better value, but they are not always healthful. It is better to purchase a sandwich with a side salad and bottle of water instead of a pre-packaged burger, fries, and fountain drink meal.
- Watch the salads. Salads are not always healthful or low in calories. Salads that contain deep-fried taco shells, fried chicken, fatty dressings, cheese, and croutons can add calories and affect blood sugar levels. Instead, opt for salads with lighter dressings, grilled chicken, limited or no cheese, and no croutons.
- Fried is bad. It is best to avoid deep-fried foods, such as chicken strips, fries, and taco shells.
- Swap the sides. When available, people should choose side salads, fruits, vegetables, or other sides that are more healthful than fries.
The American Diabetes Association provides information to help people make a healthful choice.
Fast Food For Breakfast???!!!
No time for breakfast at home?
It looks like you’ll be making a stop at the closest drive thru for breakfast. What’s the best (or better) option when it comes to making a lower carbohydrate selection at a fast-food restaurant?
Lower carb options do exist
Below is a list of some of the top fast-food chains that offer breakfast. I have included one menu item to avoid along with one menu item to try. All of the suggested menu items contain 28 grams of carbohydrate or less. Some of you may find that eating close to 30 grams of carbohydrate at breakfast is too much carbohydrate for your meal plan. If you require an even lower carbohydrate option try ditching the tortilla, English muffin, flatbread (etc.), and instead, request a double portion of meat.
What to avoid:
Breakfast Toaster Sausage
Carb: 52 grams
Protein: 27 grams
Fat: 39 grams
What to try:
Jr. Breakfast Burrito
Carb: 23 grams
Protein: 13 grams
Fat: 15 grams
What to avoid:
Carb: 56 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Fat: 8 grams
Carb: 26 grams
Protein: 12 grams
Fat: 16 grams
Carb: 73 grams
Protein: 33 grams
Fat: 55 grams
What to try:
Hash Brown Burrito
Carb: 27 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Fat: 23 grams
Coffee Cake Muffin
Carb: 87 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Fat: 24 grams
Egg and Turkey Sausage Wake-Up Wrap
Carb: 13 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Fat: 18 grams
Egg and Cheese (6 inch on flatbread)
Carb: 43 grams
Protein: 19 grams
Fat: 15 grams
Egg and Cheese (3 inch on flatbread)
Carb: 21 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Fat: 8 grams
Cinnabon Delights (12 pack)
Carb: 104 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Fat: 53 grams
Mini Skillet Bowl
Carb: 16 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Fat: 11 grams
Carb: 67 grams
Protein: 42 grams
Fat: 47 grams
Greek Yogurt Parfait
Carb: 28 grams
Protein: 12 grams
Fat: 9 grams
Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit
Carb: 52 grams
Protein: 21 grams
Fat: 25 grams
Sausage and Egg Burrito
Carb: 14 grams
Protein: 12 grams
Fat: 20 grams
- Sweetened coffee drinks such as mochas and lattes.
- Sugar laden condiments such as syrups, jellies and flavored creamers.
- Take caution with fruit smoothies which are often loaded in sugar.
Online nutrition calculators
- Many fast food websites now have nutrition calculators. Using a nutrition calculator allows you to customize your meal and see how additions/deletions can impact the nutritional content of your meal.
Source: Web exclusive, August 2011
Eating healthy is easy’when you’re cooking at home, with access to a good grocery store. When you’re out, on the other hand, it can be hard to find the best choices. Restaurant meals are often laden with calories, fat, sugar and salt, and the most popular’and tempting’sides, such as fries or pop, have barely any nutritional value other than calories. Plus, says Janet von Weiler, a registered dietitian who specializes in pediatric diabetes at Saint John Regional Hospital in New Brunswick, ‘Restaurant portions can be so huge.’
But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on eating well when you’re eating out. The most important thing is to plan ahead. First, says von Weiler, know which restaurants will offer the healthiest choices, and plan to choose them rather than competitors in the same food court or on the same stretch of highway. Second, ‘do a bit of studying ahead of time’ to familiarize yourself with nutritional information online so you’re aware of the best picks. And third, know what to avoid: empty-calorie and sugary beverages; anything from the deep fryer, including any tortilla strips or croutons that are added to salads; and calorie-rich sauces, which can often be substituted or served on the side so you can control what you eat.
All of the meals below have been chosen to hit between 45 and 60 grams of carbohydrates’a ‘not unreasonable’ goal, according to von Weiler’and 400 to 500 calories, with fat and sodium as low as possible for fast-food restaurants. Make sure you’re hitting your personal nutritional targets and balance them out with meals that are light on fat and salt the rest of the day, and speak to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns on how these meals can fit into a healthy diet.
Our pick: Pico Grilled Chicken Fresh Wrap and Garden Side Salad (with Light Classic Ranch Dressing and Gourmet Croutons)
Carbohydrate: 44 g
Fat: 18 g
Sodium: 1,250 mg
Protein: 25 g
2. Tim Hortons
Our pick: Egg Salad Wrap, Minestrone Soup and Small Iced Coffee made with milk
Carbohydrate: 59 g
Fat: 11.5 g
Sodium: 1,165 mg
Protein: 14 g
Our pick: Oven-Roasted Chicken 6-inch Sub and Creamy Garden Cauliflower Soup
Carbohydrate: 62 g
Fat: 11.5 g
Sodium: 1,380 mg
Protein: 26 g
4. Booster Juice
Our pick: Tuna Wrap on Whole Wheat and Green Hornet Juice (12 oz)
Carbohydrate: 60 g
Fat: 11 g
Sodium: 1,060 mg
Protein: 33 g
5. Boston Pizza
Our pick: Half a Baja Thin Crust Pizza and a Spinach Salad (starter size)
Carbohydrate: 46 g
Fat: 27 g
Sodium: 940 mg
Protein: 29 g
Our pick: Roma Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich and a Tall Caffè Latte made with non-fat milk
Carbohydrate: 59 g
Fat: 15 g
Sodium: 900 mg
Protein: 31 g
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